Tuesday, February 6, 2007



Perceptual Qualities of Space
Language of Materials vs. Feel of Spaces

This map shows the city of Chicago broken down into a color diagram based on the materials of each of the buildings. It maps the use of brick on buildings (red) and the use of wood on buildings (yellow). These two colors show the break down of the buildings according to commerical use or residential use. This map is useful for showing the divisions of Chicago according not only to the material of the building but also the program and use of the building as well.

This was another intesting article found:

Cool Roofs

Flat, dark-colored roofs like those on many retail centers, apartments, warehouses and offices can exceed 160° F. in the summer, enough to affect the temperature of whole neighborhoods. Greater use of more reflective roofing with high albedo (a measure of the reflectivity of solar radiation) helps cool urban air temperatures. Greater use of green or garden roofs also reduces urban temperatures and help reduce runoff that contributes to flooding. Cool Houston proposes the widespread use of reflective roofing on all low-slope roofs. The Cool Houston Plan provides information on these technologies, their benefits, and what we need to do to have more cool roofs.

Cool Paving

A dark surface on parking lots can reach 160° F. or hotter. Parked cars on hot pavement emit gasoline fumes contributing to air pollution. Rainfall on this surface is heated before it flows into waterways where it harms temperature-sensitive species and carries heated pollutants into our streams. Light-colored pavements offer a cooler alternative, reducing surface heat and lowering the temperature of stormwater runoff. Porous paving offers a good solution for low traffic areas such as parking lots and light duty roads, cooling the city and reducing urban runoff. The Cool Houston Plan provides information on paving technologies and a course of action on encouraging their use.

Trees and Vegetation

From 1972 to 1999, the Houston region lost about 400 square miles of tree canopy or 25 acres per day, causing Houston's urban heat islands to grow larger and hotter. Trees remove pollutants from the air. They cool air temperature through shading and a process called evapotranspiration. Current tree shade provides Houston area residents with $26 million in annual energy savings, at the same time increasing property values and the quality of life in the region. They slow storm water movement, lower total runoff volume, reduce flooding, and control erosion. The Cool Houston Plan provides a new look at the role of trees in the Houston region and how we can greatly expand the benefits of our tree population.

This article talks about three very important aspects of Urban street life and the materials used to help with the comfort levels of the people using the streets. This article was written about houston but more of this will apply to Austin as well.

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